The Kieran McGeeney Derby: Are Armagh on the right track?

Aaron Kernan and Johnny Doyle analyse as a qualifier clash agianst Kildare approaches

BY Raf Diallo 20:32 Wednesday 26 July 2017, 20:32 26 Jul 2017

Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

Saturday's All Ireland Football qualifier action has a bit of a derby feel

An Ulster clash between Down and Monaghan takes pride of place in the first match of a Croke Park qualifier double header at 5pm.

The other clash at 7pm centres around Kieran McGeeney.

The Armagh manager will take his native county into battle against the county he managed previously - Kildare - with a place in the All Ireland quarter finals at stake for both sides.

Former Armagh footballer Aaron Kernan and ex-Kildare All Star Johnny Doyle joined Off The Ball to share their perspectives on the match as well as the evolution of McGeeney as a manager.

Kernan feels Armagh are heading in the right direction under McGeeney but that there is still a long way to go before they can replicate the competitiveness of a decade ago.

"I think to be fair to that team, they still have a long way to go, particularly because there are so many new faces. I definitely think that the three wins on the trot, that just got fast-tracked it gives more of a buoy and more belief," he said.

"Once boys see what they're being asked to do and it's actually working and it's getting them results, it just triggers in their mind the next time in the same situation pops up. For me realistically, it's a necessity - nothing else matters - that Armagh just need to get out of Division 3 next year. It won't be easy. There'll be a few more Ulster derbies with Derry and Fermanagh coming back into Division 3, Wexford and Westmeath coming up which makes it tougher. But regarding all that, Armagh definitely have the personnel and in order to be competing for Ulster let alone anything out of that, they need to be getting out of Division 3 to be playing against better quality opposition week in week out because that is ultimately what is going to bring players on."  

Adding that three Championship wins in a row are a real positive, Kernan said, "I wouldn't right off this weekend" against the Leinster finalists Kildare who are developing nicely.

He also praised McGeeney for the way in which he took a recent ban "on the chin" without making a fuss about it.

You can listen to the full Football Review with James Horan and Devenney on the podcast player or stream/download/subscribe on iTunes.

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